Philipstown Reform Synagogue Celebrates Tu B’shevat on Jan. 18

On Saturday evening, Jan. 18, the Philipstown Reform Synagogue (PRS) will celebrate the trees, the four worlds and foods of Tu B’shevat at the home of Stephanie Rudolph and David Hardy in Cold Spring. The event begins at 6 p.m. and includes a dinner incorporating fruits and grains honored by the holiday. Guests will be asked to bring a short poem or excerpt from a poem about trees, which will be collected and read at intervals throughout the evening.

Tu B’shevat or the “New Year of the Tree” is a Jewish holiday observed on the 15th (tu) of the Hebrew month of Shevat. It is considered a joyous festival of nature in anticipation of spring and the renewal of the natural world. The holiday has become a tree planting festival in Israel, in which both Israelis and Jews around the world plant trees in honor or in memory of a loved one or friend.

In the 17th century, Kabbalists created a ritual for Tu B’shevat that is similar to a Passover seder, the structure of which corresponds to the four “worlds” through which, the Kabbalists believe, the life-giving flow of the Divine is channeled and filtered – the world of the physical (asiyah), emotional (yetzirah), mental (briya) and spiritual (atzilut).

The PRS Tu B’shevat is open to all. There is no charge but reservations are essential as space is limited and attendance will be capped. Reserve by e-mail at [email protected] or by calling 845-265-8011. PRS was founded in 2002 with the purpose of creating an inclusive venue to investigate the practice of Judaism, both intellectually and spiritually.

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